The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land (ACOHL) on Monday condemned the repeated attacks on the Romanian church monastery in Jerusalem, near the Jewish Orthodox religious quarter, and blamed extremist Jewish settlers for the crime.
The statement was released shortly after a fire engulfed the entrance to the Romanian Orthodox Church. “Thank God the local priest managed to extinguish the fire quickly,” reads the ACOHL statement.
Monday’s act of vandalism was the fourth time in a month to target the same monastery, ACOHL said and added that “according to authorities, some religious Orthodox Jews are suspected of being the likely attackers.”
“We, the Catholic Churches, unite with the Orthodox Churches and all other Christian communities in Jerusalem and strongly condemn these acts of vandalism which offend not only the lives of Christians but also those of many who still believe in dialogue and mutual respect. These acts are contrary to the spirit of peaceful coexistence between the different religious communities of the City,” the statement continued.
ACOHL said such acts had become frequent in Jerusalem in recent months and that all authorities, political and religious, should unite in condemning them. “For this reason, we call on the Israeli security authorities to seriously investigate these incidents and bring the attackers to justice.
Price tag vandalism is a strategy used by extremist Jewish settlers to attack Palestinians and their property in retaliation for perceived threats to Israeli settlement expansion.
These attacks and others like them in Jerusalem are called “at cost” attacks, which is a name given to acts of vandalism by Jewish fundamentalist settlers targeting the Palestinian population, Christians, leftist Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs and the Israeli security forces, to punish any rumors of compromise in the peace negotiations and drive the Palestinians out of the occupied lands.
There has been a marked increase in “at-cost” attacks in Israel in recent times, not only against Christian churches but also against Muslim mosques.
“We pray to the Almighty,” ACOHL said, “for granting the wisdom to learn to live alongside each other, respecting each other’s dignity and rights.”